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Local athletes take next step

POSTED February 29, 2012 12:04 p.m.

Four local standouts —in football, wrestling and soccer — signed letters of intent to play at the collegiate level this week.

Hilmar High football’s Garrett Jericoff signed with Montana State University-Northern this week. The Lights, part of the Frontier Conference in the NAIA, have recruited Jericoff to play safety, hoping he will help them win a National Championship much like he helped the Yellowjackets win a Section Championship last season.

“I’m excited about it,” Jericoff said. “I like playing both ways, but I’m looking forward to focusing on one position and seeing what I can do.”

Jericoff chose Montana-Northern for its competitiveness and the scholarship opportunities afforded to him by the school. Other schools, such as Jamestown College and Valley City of North Dakota, were also seeking Jericoff’s presence on their teams but ultimately missed out.

With a spot on the Light’s roster sealed, Jericoff’s dream of playing at the collegiate level is finally realized.

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and playing at the college level. It’ll definitely be a challenge but I’m looking forward to it,” Jericoff said. “I just want to get in there and compete and if I have to redshirt I’ll be fine with that.”

Another member of Hilmar’s championship team, Andrew Olson, also signed on to play at the collegiate level recently. Olson has decided to take his arm to the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D.

Turlock High wrestling’s Alexia Moreno signed with King College in Tennessee, becoming the first lady Bulldog to wrestle at the college level.

As a Bulldog Moreno became the first girl to make the varsity wrestling team and the first female to win a state championship in Turlock High’s history. After a championship filled year as a junior, she placed first at Masters and State. Moreno was forced to sit out most of her senior year with an injury. Although Moreno missed 90 percent of the season, she still managed to place fourth in this year’s Masters Tournament and second at State.

Moreno will now take that tenacity to King College where the coaching staff lured her away from a handful of other schools.

“From talking with the head coach, he seemed like a really cool guy and someone I’d be willing to wrestle for,” Moreno said. “I’m looking forward to being away from home, in a new atmosphere, and to start fresh with a new coach and a new school and see what I can achieve.”

Former Bulldog and MJC Pirate, Sarah Latham has decided to continue her soccer career with the University of Houston. After leading MJC to the Northern California Semifinals and scoring 43 points on the season Latham is projected to immediately step in and help with the Cougars’ quest for a national championship.

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